Grub Guides

14 New York Tech Start-Ups With Pretty Great Food and Drink Perks

Warby Parker gets Parm catered.
Warby Parker gets Parm catered. Photo: Hannah Mattix

It’s not all doom and gloom in the working world: This week’s New York explores the lavish perks offered by tech companies. Evernote treats its staff to house-cleaners, Tumblr has a puppy “intern,” and Google boasts a gourmet chef on campus. Grub’s most interested in the tech world’s food-and-drink perks, of course. New York’s start-up scene is still catching up to Silicon Valley’s, but it’s mastered the work-crazy-hours-for-free-food business strategy. This goes far beyond free organic peanut butter and granola; small and medium-size start-up companies like HowAboutWe, LearnVest, and Grouper offer grocery delivery, free iced coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting Company, and fresh pies from the Union Square Greenmarket. That’s just the beginning.

The Perks: This company offers one of the biggest collections of contemporary art online, and working here means you get free breakfast, weekly team lunches catered through ZeroCater, and healthy snacks. Artsy also hosts annual Thanksgiving potluck dinners, and holds team meals at Roberta’s. Good pizza equals productivity.

Blue Apron
The Perks: The Williamsburg start-up delivers recipes curated by chefs, as well as measured ingredients, to your door. Employees taste samples, of course, and the company’s executive chef often makes lunch for the office. Blue Apron has a subscription to Nature Box (a healthy snack delivery company), and hosts regular company happy hours at the Anchored Inn, too.

The Perks: At the philanthropy company’s Midtown East office, there’s catered lunch the first Monday of every month, Dos Caminos delivery for special occasions, and Friday Happy Hours (Skinny Girl Margaritas are big here). Valentine’s Day means a big baking competition, and on the Friday before Thanksgiving, everyone gets together for a potluck dinner.

The Perks: At the online design shop’s West Village office, employees enjoy free hot lunch every day, often from the Meatball Shop or Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. There’s always a salad bar and sandwich fixings, and Fab keeps its two kitchens stocked with breakfast food and snacks like string cheese, Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy! On Fridays, everyone celebrates the birthdays of the previous week with dessert. There’s even a soft-serve ice cream machine in the office.

The Perks: The dating social club makes weekly grocery runs for its employees (Trader Joe’s macaroni and cheese is the most popular item), and boasts a full kitchen in its office. Grouper organizes one formal team lunch and team dinner per week, where the staff orders delivery from Bareburger or Grey Dog, or uses Kitchensurfing.

The Perks: At the online dating website’s Dumbo office, lunch is catered each Monday — favorites include Caracas Arepa Bar, heroes from Graham Avenue Deli, and meat pies from Tuck Shop. On Fridays, there are catered breakfasts with bagels, pastries, quiche, and yogurt parfaits. The free coffee (both hot and iced) comes from Brooklyn Roasting Company. Plus: Thanksgiving lunch, burgers and hot dogs around July 4, and Robicelli’s cupcakes and Champagne for birthdays.

The Perks: The chef-matchmaking service hosts a lot of cooks in the office to test out dishes. Employees end up getting a private chef, or ten, for lunch at least once a week. Kitchensurfing also holds cool events like the Fried Chickensurfing Throwdown and keeps a fully stocked bar.

The Perks: The fresh pie at the financial advising website’s Greenwich Village office comes straight from the Union Square Greenmarket. The company holds “dip-off” cooking competitions (last year’s winner was steak-bacon-mushroom dip), and Thanksgiving potluck dinners. Gummy bears and almonds are also on hand.

The Perks: This Soho start-up gives international local boutiques an online presence. Aside from complimentary snacks and Red Bull, the company offers free lunches as part of its book club. The reading is optional (this month’s is Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug), but everyone’s encouraged to go out to eat at Delicatessen or Soho Park. Every month or so, there are team dinners held at restaurants like Public and Café Habana.

The Perks: The company that’s building high-tech vending machines inside cabs receives a ton of free food samples. And once a month, the team of ten gathers for a meal — usually heading to Gaia Italian Café for a private, prix fixe dinner. There are Sour Patch Kids wandering around the office, too.

The Perks: It’s not surprising that the members-only digital men’s lifestyle publication has weekly happy hours to sample different kinds of booze (last week, there was a Johnnie Walker tasting). The office is also stocked with two bars and a Kegerator — and there are kegs at all companywide meetings. Food perks include a full bagel spread on Fridays, regular tastings in the office (once hosted by a “grilled cheese expert”), fresh fruit every day, weekly “Techfasts” (breakfast cooked by the tech team), and a big, free breakfast as a reward for closing a sale.

Warby Parker
The Perks: The Soho-based eyeglasses company provides lunch three times a week, often from Parm, the Meatball Shop, and Cafe Habana. There are Murray’s Bagels and Stumptown Coffee at weekly team meetings, and frequent happy hours with beer, wine, and prosecco. And yes, there are gluten-free drink options, too.

Warby also does a weekly “lunch roulette,” through which it selects two groups of team members to share a meal on the company’s tab. Frequent choices include Ruby’s, Rubirosa, and Jack’s Wife Freda. Warby’s even held a wine tasting class — with Murray’s Cheese plates, of course.

The Perks: The location software company offers its employees $16 worth of Seamless for both lunch and dinner, totalling $32 per day. There are also unlimited snacks, and kegs and pizza at the company’s weekly Friday afternoon meetings.

The Perks: ZocDoc’s staff is keen on healthy eating, obviously. Free lunch is catered every day, and there’s usually a vegetarian option. Whenever ZocDoc launches in a new region, it holds a launch lunch to celebrate that city’s cuisine. Employees who work past 8 p.m. can order off of the Seamless corporate account.

There’s unlimited coffee in the office, and it’s actually good: Joyride’s cold brews, various grinds of drip coffee, and every kind of milk. The office is also stocked with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, Kashi and gluten-free cereals, Amy’s Kitchen frozen entrees, granola bars, hummus, and organic peanut butter. It’s not an official company perk, but many employees brew their own Kombucha and beer and bring in samples.

14 New York Tech Start-Ups With Pretty Great Food and Drink Perks